Israel-Hamas: Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer showing 'cowardice', says SNP Westminster leader, as two hostages rescued
The SNP’s Westminster leader has written to both Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer urging them to back calls for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, as two hostages were rescued from captivity in the Gaza Strip.
Stephen Flynn has accused both the Prime Minister and the UK Labour leader of “cowardice” by not backing the SNP’s calls for an immediate ceasefire in the region.
Meanwhile, a group of 21 humanitarian organisations, including Scottish charity SCIAF, are to deliver a letter to Downing Street tonight to demand the UK Government take action over the plight of civilians in Gaza.
The letter says: "We, as agencies united, attempted to work together with the Government towards leveraging what the UK can do to halt these atrocities. We are losing confidence in Ministers as the UK appears utterly incapable of restraining Israel in its current attempts.”
This comes as Israeli forces stormed a heavily guarded apartment in the southern Gaza Strip to extract the captives.
Mr Flynn said while he was “pleased” the hostages were now in the “safe hands of Israeli forces rather than Hamas”, he described the episode as the “exception rather than the rule” in this ongoing conflict.
“Some dozens of civilians were killed in this attack – we are seeing Israeli defence forces launching an offensive on one of the world’s biggest refugee camps,” Mr Flynn told the BBC.
“Rafah currently has 1.5 million people who don’t have access to food, water, sanitation, medicine or electricity, and they are being bombarded by the Israeli government.
“We have been consistent in our view in calling for an immediate ceasefire since the beginning of this conflict, and we need to see Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer join us to save civilian lives by backing this ceasefire.”
Mr Flynn said protecting human lives needed to be at the forefront of thinking, but that he did not believe this had been the case as 30,000 civilians had now been killed.
He said the International Court of Justice had branded the war a “plausible genocide in Gaza” and said the UK must demand a ceasefire as a “friend and ally of Israel”.
Mr Flynn said: “The language being used by the Conservatives and Labour effectively gives a veto on foreign policy to both Hamas and [Israel prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, neither of whom are interested in the lives of civilians in Palestine.
“Hamas and Netenyahu should be interested in what British politicians say – Israel should be interested because we sell arms to Israel, and we should stop that whilst they are conducting acts of violence against Palestinian civilians.
“We are also permanent members of the UN Security Council and we have a role to play to make sure regional unrest is dissipated. It’s why the UK needs to vote for a ceasefire and why Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are showing cowardice on this matter.”
Israeli forces carried out overnight air strikes on Rafah, killing almost 70 people. Two Israeli hostages, Fernando Simo Marman and Louis Har, who were taken from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, were rescued.
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